In the return of our weekly Fantasy Football Stock Market article, we will be highlighting players that you should buy (undervalued) and sell (overvalued). We will also provide information on Penny Stock players – players outside the top 250 in ADP or on waivers in the deepest of fantasy leagues that could pay off huge dividends at little or no cost to your fantasy team. We will be focusing on one position per week, with tight ends up next.
Zach Miller – Oakland Raiders
Zach Miller almost cracked the top-10 fantasy TEs in 2009 with luminaries like JaMarcus Russell and Bruce Gradkowski throwing him the football. Miller tied for the team league in targets with rookie Louis Murphy (92).
Miller has a chance at a breakout season with Jason Campbell at the helm. Miller can put his underrated play-making skills to good use with Campbell checking down often to the TE. Miller scored on an 86-yard touchdown reception versus Philadelphia in Week 6 and ranked sixth in the NFL with 379 yards after catch. With an accurate QB, an increase in targets and the further development of the young Oakland WRs – Miller can be a top-8 TE at the fraction of the cost to your fantasy team.
Todd Heap – Baltimore Ravens
The often injured Todd Heap played a full season in 2009 for the sixth time in his nine-year career. With an injury perception that fantasy owners cannot shake, two new rookie tight ends on the roster, and a new WR in town (Anquan Boldin), Heap is undervalued going into fantasy drafts this summer.
While it may be surprising that Heap finished as the 13th ranked tight end last year, there are many encouraging trends that Heap can hold off his rookie challengers and post a similar season. Heap finished with the fifth highest catch percentage (73.6), seventh in TD receptions (6), and seventh in broken tackles (6) of tight ends playing 75% of their team’s offensive snaps. Heap is valued by fantasy owners as a low-end backup level TE, but in reality still has the ability to post another top-13 finish in 2010.
Visanthe Shiancoe – Minnesota Vikings
Visanthe Shiancoe has posted two consecutive top-6 finishes among TEs, but there is reason to believe that he could be in for a drop-off in production. Shiancoe has been helped by his 18 touchdowns the past two years, 11 of which were courtesy of Brett Favre. Shiancoe ranked 13th in the NFL in targets and scored a touchdown every 7 targets he received.
There is no chance that Shiancoe can keep up that touchdown pace, and the annual Brett Favre retirement talk further dampens his situation. Shiancoe is mediocre in the passing game: 38th in YAC/Reception (3.9), 26th in broken tackles (3), fourth in drops (7), and 36th in yards per catch (10.1). Avoid Shiancoe at all costs and sell high if you own him in a dynasty league.
Kellen Winslow – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Kellen Winslow underwent his fifth knee operation in six seasons stemming from his motorcycle stunt in Cleveland. With this many surgeries, 27-year-old Winslow may not have many seasons left in the NFL. Winslow had a strong 2009 season largely due to the injuries to Antonio Bryant and a lack of other viable options. Winslow’s 117 targets paced the Buccaneers, 34 more than Bryant.
Winslow did little with the football after the catch, ranking 51st in YAC/Reception and only four broken tackles. Winslow now has competition with rookies Arrelious Benn and Mike Williams and will see his production plummet if they can earn the trust of Josh Freeman. Buyer beware on Winslow, this could be the year his knee gives out on him.
Anthony Fasano – Miami Dolphins
Anthony Fasano struggled last season; his opponents were ready to stop the “Wildcat” formation. Just two seasons ago Fasano scored 7 TDs when the “Wildcat” formation was in vogue. Fasano stands to benefit the most from Brandon Marshall’s arrival to South Beach. Fasano is guaranteed to continue seeing significant playing time under Tony Sparano with his top-flight run-blocking ability (2nd best in the league: 2008 and 2009). Fasano presents upside as a mid-range backup TE and could emerge as the Dolphins’ third target in the passing game behind Brandon Marshall and Davone Bess.
Ben Watson – Cleveland Browns
Ben Watson was never appreciated in New England, and he gets to take his impressive athletic talents to the receiving starved Cleveland Browns. Watson had a surprisingly successful season in limited opportunities: 13.9 YPR (3rd), 5 TD (12th), 72.5% catch percentage (14th). Cleveland has some candidates at WR to take a lead role, but it would not be surprising to see new QB Jake Delhomme develop solid chemistry with Watson early and often. Watson was only targeted 40 times in 2009; it is not out of place to expect that figure to almost double this year. Watson could emerge as the top receiving threat in Cleveland and he is not on the radar of many fantasy owners at this point.
All statistics courtesy of ProFootballFocus.com